Holy Trinity Church, Ashford in the Water, Derbyshire
The church we visit this week dates back to 1205 but I guess like so many of our old churches there was perhaps an even earlier place of worship on this site.
But unlike many we visit it is the Tower which is the oldest part of this building. Square and stout in construction it needs to be as it houses 7 Cast Iron Bells….and there will be no one in the village that will not be able to hear the call to church when they are rung.
It is beneath the Bells that Holy Trinity locates its stone Font. I guess the church did go through some hard times as I understand the Font was once sold as a ‘Garden Ornament’ but later reinstated.
The Nave and Chancel form the main body of the church, though there is a North Aisle to the side which leads to the vestry. Most striking is the wooden arched ceiling. Note the stone Chancel Arch, it stands on two red marble pillars…it is a local marble and these two pillars are reputedly off cuts of pillars used to construct part of nearby Chatsworth House…
Since its first construction in 1205 there have been many times when the interior was redecorated and stone features added then in 1869 the main body of the Church was rebuilt.
But take the time to explore the North Aisle and look upwards. Suspended from the ceiling are 4 Funeral Garlands. Sometimes known as Virgin Crants they were an honour given to young girls and Maiden Ladies of the Parish who had died. The Garlands or Crants were Paper Rosettes and Flower heads on a small wooden frame to which a Glove or Handkerchief of the deceased was added, sometimes a poem was included. The Crant was carried in the Funeral procession and then hung above the Pew where they once sat.
Of the 4 surviving in Holy Trinity the oldest dates 1747 and the newest
to 1801. They are now conserved and now protected by perspex covers…
The village of Ashford in the Water is on the banks of the Derbyshires River Wye. The name Ashford is a derivation from the Saxon name Aisseford (as named in the Domesday Book ) and is said to translate as “the Ford of the Ash”. In the Water was later added to distinguish it from the many other Ashfords
That Ford was later adapted as a Sheep Wash and together with an arched Packhorse bridge is now a village landmark…
The village itself is quintessentially English and unlike many villages had not fallen into decline but is a modern desirable residency. Walk through Ashfords streets and you will soon discover many signs of the villages very busy past. There was one Lead Mine attached to the village. But note the names on many of the cottages as they give away their former purpose as a place of work as well as a home. There is the Baker, The Candle Maker, The Butcher, a Corn Mill and Stocking Weaving Mill ( the later being of tall three story construction note the narrower windows on the top floor – this was the weaving floor)….and of course there was a Pub appropriately named the Miners Arms. Nor should we forget the Doctor who as you guessed lived in one of the bigger more glamorous main street houses…
But it is Holy Trinity that stands proud right in the centre of this Derbyshire Village
(C) David Oakes 2016